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Lee outlasts field for huge payday in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Cody Lee didn’t think he had a chance to win the steer roping Feb. 23 at the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo. Turns out he had more than a chance.

The 39-year-old was seventh heading into the short round, trailing names like Trevor Brazile, Chet Herren (the 2013 San Antonio co-champion) and Troy Tillard.

“My mindset was to not mess up and hopefully be in the money in fourth or fifth,” Lee said of his thoughts entering the 18-man final round. “Things started to fall apart for the guys ahead of me on the board and I kept sneaking up on one after another. When I saw Trevor and Troy going the last two runs, I was thinking I had won third. They had good steers for the short go, so apparently it was just my day.”

Aboard his 19-year-old horse Pokey – the 2011 AQHA/PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year – Lee posted a time of 32.8 seconds on three head to edge Brazile by .2 seconds and Herren by .5 seconds.

Lee said his first-round steer wasn’t very good, but with some good fortune he was able to finish the run in 11.9 seconds and keep himself in the average race.

“I was happy to get by the first one,” Lee said. “The second round I came back with a much better steer and was 10.3, and then was 10.6 in the finals, which was good enough. I was way down the list and had to have things go my way.”

The Gatesville, Texas, cowboy was ecstatic – and a bit in shock – in the moments following the biggest steer roping win of his career.

“Besides the gold buckle or the average title (at the National Finals Steer Roping), this is as good as it gets,” he said.

Lee made a total of $19,584 for his three runs on Sunday, which is roughly 28 percent of his earnings from the entire 2013 season, which he finished a career-best third in the world.

It’ll be quite a while before Lee wipes the huge grin off his face.

“To win this much early in the season will make the whole year easier for me,” the eight-time NFSR qualifier said. “You always want to win as much as you can, but this will make the year shorter for me. To win a rodeo this big, you need to have a lot of luck on your side – especially in the draw. When I get here I try not to beat myself, and I don’t worry about anybody else.”

Courtesy of PRCA